Chapter XXIV
HUMBOLDT LODGE NO. 27
Lovelock, Nevada

The settling and development of Lovelock is closely associated with that of Winnemucca, for the circumstances attendant upon the location of the latter place had, to an extent at least, their bearing on the establishment of a town upon the present site of Lovelock. Both were the result of the coming of the covered wagon trains, and the trek of the sturdy pioneer from his haunts beyond the Mississippi river, although a decade or more elapsed between the actual founding of the two towns.

Of Lovelock it may be said, it is the first town of any size east of Sparks and Reno, and was first settled by John Blake in 1861. The following year George Lovelock, for whom the town is named, arrived with his family and established a home on some land opposite the spot where the Southern Pacific depot now stands, on a corner later occupied by the Orpheum Theatre. The railroad extended its rails through the town in 1866 and literally passed through the front yard of Mr. Lovelock's place.

The surrounding district and country was called Big Meadows, particularly that section around the banks of Humboldt lake whose waters have since receded and left only a stretch of sandy soil to mark the site of its once limpid waters.

Gradually the little settlement extended its boundaries, here and there a new home reared its four walls, there was some regulation and system in laying out the streets, order and proportion appeared, and along the main street substantial business rooms were built which became the new homes of reliable commercial establishments.

With the coming of the railroad a hotel was built and furnished, and not long afterwards a little church and schoolhouse were erected. Lovelock was now on its way, and being the center of an active mining, agricultural and stock raising country, gave promise of a bright future. At the close of the gay nineties it had built up a substantial population and was becoming an important factor in the political and financial affairs of that section of Nevada.

During the period of its early development following the coming of the first settlers, little thought was given to aught except the creation of commercial or civic enterprises which would augment the comfort and happiness of those who had settled there, resolved to build around them a community which would become a mecca toward which would gravitate a solid, outstanding class of citizens; and so, their time and impulses were centered in building practical enterprises which would make for success and contribute to progress. Time meant money, and time could not be frittered away in the pursuit of those things which did not contribute to the perpetuation of their life's work. It is therefore to be assumed that social contact and the pursuit of pleasure was denied them. This is confirmed by one of the old, old citizens of the district, who shortly before he passed over the Great Divide said: "We worked in those days, worked early and late; we had to work if we wanted to live. From early Monday morning on through the week until the next Monday morning, month in and month out, year in and year out, we toiled. We couldn't go to meetin'; we couldn't hardly be neighborly, for we were carvin out a new country. Rut at last we won out, and now when the sun is about to go down below the horizon of our lives, we can set back and enjoy the last few hours left to us.

That was the spirit which obsessed those hardy determined, progressive pioneers who built wisely, and well.

During these years of struggle and privation, among those who had come to the district were members of the Masonic fraternity, who eventually found one another after the fashion of the Craft, and who as the demands of their vocations would permit, would foregather to discuss the old landmarks of the Order and plan for future activities of the organization in their district. It has been said, "The history of a community can be traced through the activities of its fraternal units, for usually these units are composed of men of forceful character, progressive and public spirited, giving the best of their lives not alone to upbuilding their own fortunes and in furthering their own personal interests, but to the establishment and maintenance of enterprises calculated to advance the general welfare of the community in which they live, enhancing the well being of those with whom they come in contact."

This was the case of the brethren who settled in Lovelock and although the span of the years was long since they first came into the district until time, place and conditions were conducive to the formation of a Masonic lodge in their midst, yet with the passing of the years, silently but surely, fraternal impulses were at work shaping conditions for the ultimate establishment of a lodge in their locality and bringing to fruition the hopes and ambitions which had been nurtured and fostered for more than thirty years, for in the early spring of 1901 a few Master Masons met in the Lovelock grammar schoolhouse to devise plans for the organization of a lodge under dispensation, and to petition the Grand Lodge F. & A. M. of Nevada for permission to proceed with their plans. The prayer of their petition was granted, and on March 23, 1901, the dispensation was granted, naming John A. Ascher, worshipful master, Robert Fulstone, senior warden, and B. C. Maris, junior warden. On the first day of May, 1901, another meeting was held in the school house, and the brethren present proceeded to elect officers for the ensuing year, to be installed when the lodge was regularly constituted, their choice being the three principal officers named in the dispensation, and in addition thereto, Hans C. Marker, treasurer; Luman C. Carpenter, secretary; C. D. Ziegler, senior deacon; George H. Piper, junior deacon; Peter A. Ostrander and J. R. Brown, stewards, and Edward Stiff, tyler.

It is of interest to record that at this writing (February, 1939) John A. Ascher, the first master of the lodge, is alive and living in Illinois, and that Edward L. Stiff, the first tyler, is still living in Lovelock anti during the year 1939 enjoyed the privilege and pleasure of seeing his son Lawrence preside over Humboldt Lodge as Master.

At a communication of the Grand Lodge of Nevada held in June, 1901, a charter was authorized and issued to the following Master Masons of Lovelock: J. A. Ascher, Alex Borland, Joseph Breasley, James R. Brown, L. N. Carpenter, A. R. Edmondson, A. W. Edmondson, James Toltz, Robert Fulstone, Ben C. Maris, Hans C. Marker, Joseph Marzen, H. B. McDonald, C. D. Morrison, Peter A. Ostrander, Edward L. Stiff, and Croften Uniacke and Christ D. Zeigler, fellowcrafts.

At this same communication, the lodge furniture and all the paraphernalia, jewels, etc., of Esmeralda Lodge No. 6 of Aurora, Nevada, whose charter had been surrendered to the Grand Lodge F. & A. M. of Nevada, were sold to Humboldt Lodge, and Brother Thomas C. Sharpe of the defunct lodge was authorized to pack and ship them to the secretary of the lodge at Lovelock. The jewels obtained from Esmeralda lodge had quite a history. In the first place, they were made from native silver taken from the Aurora mines, and were presented to Esmeralda lodge by Brother John W. Tucker of San Francisco, a name that to old Nevadans and Californians was familiar. Brother Tucker was active in Masonry in California for many years. He was a pioneer manufacturing jeweler of San Francisco and his place of business at the corner of Montgomery and Sutter streets was an old landmark from the early fifties of the last century until the earthquake and fire of 1906." The Holy Bible used by Esmeralda lodge was finally presented to Humboldt lodge by the remaining members of Number Six and was used until 1926, when Grand Master Clarence Young presented Humboldt lodge with a new Bible when he made his official visitation to his home lodge. The old Bible was afterwards presented to Hawthorne lodge No. 36, and is in use today upon the Masonic altar of that lodge, and is one of the treasured Masonic historical items of Nevada, around which centers so many recollections of fraternal interest aroused and created in those pioneer days of the state, and our Order in Nevada.

With advice received from Right Worshipful C. N. Noteware, Grand Secretary, authorizing permission from the Grand Lodge for the brethren to organize a Masonic lodge under dispensation, and install their officers, it became necessary for the brethren to arrange for a meeting place, and to this end a building said to have been located about two blocks away from the business district of the town was secured, and during the first week in April the ceremony of instituting the new lodge and installing its officers was accomplished.

Following the issuing of the charter in June, plans were perfected to receive the document and entertain its bearer in fitting manner. The service of constituting the lodge and installing the officers was delegated to Very Reverend Thomas L. Bellam, Grand Chaplain F. & A. M. of Nevada, by Most Worshipful Grand Master George A. Morgan and who, as indicated in the journal of proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Nevada for 1902 was empowered to convene a meeting of the Grand Lodge for the purpose of constituting Humboldt lodge No. 27 and installing its officers. Accordingly, on July 26, 1901; at three o'clock P. M. the Grand Lodge was convened in Lovelock in Odd Fellows hall on the second door of the Lovelock grammar school with the following acting Grand officers in attendance: Brother Thomas L. Bellam, as Grand Master; Brother H. J. Allen as Deputy Grand Master; Brother N. N. Stark as Senior Grand Warden; Brother Joseph K. Marzen, as Junior Grand Warden; Brother H. L. Bellam as Grand Secretary and Grand Chaplain; Brother H. J. Allen as Senior Grand Deacon; Brother H. Loose as Junior Grand Deacon; Brother R. H. Bellam as Grand Tyler.

The Grand Lodge was convened in ample form and with impressive ceremony according to ancient custom, and was duly constituted with the following officers installed into office: John A. Ascher, Worshipful Master; Robert Fulstone, Senior Warden; Ben C. Maris, Junior Warden; Hans C. Marker, Treasurer; Luman N. Carpenter, Secretary; C. D. Ziegler, Senior Deacon; George H. Piper, Junior Deacon; Peter A. Ostrander, Senior Steward; J. R. Brown, Junior Steward; Edward L. Stiff, Tyler.

The impressive ceremonies concluded, Grand Lodge was closed in ample form and the Very Reverend Thomas L. Bellam delivered a most impressive address which was heartily applauded. Humboldt Lodge then resumed labor and Fellowcrafts Henry B. McDonald and Crofton Uniacke were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason.

The subsequent history of Humboldt lodge is confined to a period of active progress which, as the years passed by was reflected in a fine numerical growth, and the lodge became a factor not only in the annals of Nevada Masonry, but exerted a splendid influence upon the social, civic, moral and religious life of the community. It continued to diffuse Masonic Light in Buena Vista hall, I. O. O. F. until early in 1910 when the brethren moved their belongings to the second door of the Lovelock Mercantile building which had been reconditioned to meet their needs. This room was occupied by both the I. O. O. F. and Masonic fraternities until the summer of 1915 when quarters were acquired on the second floor of the Young and Goodin building, now a part of the Pershing Hotel. This room was outfitted and furnished in a manner befitting the necessities and requirements of both lodges, and their belongings were moved in August. Here the brethren continued to spread Masonic light until 1920 when the old grammar school building which the brethren had first occupied as a lodge hall when the lodge was organized Under Dispensation, was purchased and moved to the location it now occupies, and after undergoing necessary remodeling, the furniture and regalia of the brethren was brought over from the old location, and Humboldt lodge resumed its career in the jointly owned hall. Here both the I. O. O. F. fraternity and the Masonic brethren have continued to meet for more than twenty years. In the meantime, the burden of debt occasioned through buying and remodeling the building has been lifted, and both lodges are free of indebtedness.

Humboldt lodge is typical of what a Masonic lodge should be; an exponent of those truly Masonic virtues, Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. The years have dealt kindly with it, and as they have passed by, the lodge has added to its prestige by kindly deeds and noteworthy charity, to become a bulwark of strength in the locality where it exists.

For forty years it has carried on; some of the years have brought disappointments and loss, some have been full of blessings, but all have been marked by steadfast purpose and determination to achieve the goal of their ambition, which had for its object the establishment and perpetuation of a unit of Masonry which would stand out among the constituent lodges of the state as a model of fraternal achievement. That they have succeeded is evidenced by the standing they have attained, not only in the community in which they operate, but also the place which they occupy in the councils of the Grand Lodge of Nevada.

The roster of the lodge has from the beginning of its existence contained the names of the most prominent and outstanding men of the community, many of whom have been honored by being placed in positions of trust and responsibility by their associates, or elected to municipal, county and state offices. The list is long and reflects credit upon the lodge in the selection of proper material with which to add to their numerical strength to carry on the traditions of the Order.

At the annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Nevada convened in June, 1925, Humboldt Lodge was honored by the election of Clarence L. Young, one of its outstanding members, to serve as Grand Master of Masons of Nevada. He served the Grand Body ably and well, and at the close of his term of office retired with the good will and wishes of his co-workers in the Grand Lodge as well as of the brethren of the constituent lodges of the state.

As a tribute to the fidelity of Masonry in Lovelock, we can record that it has existed in the locality where it was organized, in response to an urge for a domain of brotherhood, and for the establishment of a fraternity where congenial companionship might soften the asperities of life and inspire an interest in the welfare and happiness of the community, as well as to enhance social and fraternal contacts. Such has been its purpose, and to this it has worked as a means to an end, to become one of the vital factors in the promotion of those Masonic virtues: Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love.

(Return to lodge list)

(To the next chapter)